How To Stop Picking At Your Skin


There are three types of skin-having people: those who actually heeded their mothers’ constant nagging, never squeezing at a bump, and let scabs survive full-term; those who maybe scratch at a mosquito bite one too many times before realizing the error of their ways and opt for some hydrocortisone, who only occasionally pop a zit—as a very last resort, when and if the little guy is ready; and then there are those who plant themselves in front of their billion-watt, 10x magnifying mirror, inspecting and poking and squeezing and prodding—mostly at stuff that barely even qualifies as a clogged pore, until, an hour later, they’ve completely annihilated the surface of their skin, left it swollen and red, shaking their fists at the heavens screaming, ‘DEAR GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE?!”

Compulsive skin picking, sometimes referred to as dermatillomania, is like less-than-sober 3AM loops through the Whataburger drive-thru: kind of embarrassing, potentially harmful, and most people don’t like to admit they do it, let alone reach out for help. But unlike mindless late-night treks for Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits, we’re here to offer some guidance. Or actually, Dr. Amy Wechsler, double board-certified dermatologist and psychiatrist, is:

“Some people aren’t pickers and some are—you know scabs, pimples, you name it—from when they were kids, and that kind of picking is made worse during times of stress and anxiety. But picking and doing self-surgery is so bad. It can leave marks and scars, and can even be on the OCD spectrum, which is an anxiety disorder. You can cause an infection, and you can actually make the pimples worse. When you are squashing a pimple, you’re often pushing stuff back down into your skin when you squeeze. So even if you get that one out, you might be irritating another one right next door to it. Most people are not so extreme where they are doing it everyday for a long time. It’s just when they are particularly stressed out, or they’re sleep-deprived, or their skin is really breaking out and it hasn’t in a long time. The first thing I do, obviously, is try to fix whatever the skin issue is, so if someone is breaking out I treat their acne aggressively so there is nothing to pick at, but that can take a couple of months before it gets better so in the meantime, there are a few things I have people try...”

Enlist A Nagging Friend
It’s hard to stop, and people lose sense of time, so I have them enlist a partner. Unless someone lives by themselves—when you live on your own, it’s a lot harder—it will be whoever your roommate is, a spouse, a boyfriend, a good friend, a sister, whatever. You have to tell them, ‘I’m having this problem; I’m picking my skin and you can’t let me be alone in the bathroom for more than five minutes. Knock on the door, check on me. I’m not going to mind.’”

The Post-It Method
“What I will also do—this might sound goofy—but I will have people put up sticky notes in the bathroom that say things like, ‘Don’t pick!’, ‘Stop picking!’, ‘Don’t touch your face!’ People get into this state where they are not really mindful of what they’re doing, so that kind of a note helps jolt them back into reality like, ‘Ah, I have to stop that,’ is actually really helpful.”

Throw Out Your Tools
“Sometimes people are using tools like tweezers or needles, and I make them throw them out. And if they have a magnifying mirror, I usually make them toss it. It makes a big difference, and your skin never looks like what it looks like in a magnifying mirror. That’s not reality at all.”

Up Your Self-Awareness
A lot of people have this type-A personality where they are trying to control their lives and take charge, and these people think they are making themselves better when they pick at their skin. And it might be something where—let’s say that the period of stress that caused you to pick at your skin goes away—inevitably, you will get stressed out again at some point, and that will be your vulnerable spot. You might be tempted to do it again. So it’s all about learning who you are and being more mindful and self-aware and asking for help if you need it. You have to realize that you are not actually making anything better; you’re just making things worse.”

Consider Laser Hair Removal
For girls who pick on their legs and things like that when they get ingrown hairs, it’s the same problem. Ingrown hairs are caused by a lot of different factors. One, someone could have just extremely thick hair. Or if they wax or use a razor with too many blades on it, the hair is pulled out really deep and will inevitably curl a little bit. But you want your hair to curl when it’s sticking back out of your skin, not when it’s still underneath your skin. It’s like when a splinter is stuck beneath the skin, and you have a body reaction, which is an irritated ingrown hair. So you have to figure out how to remove your hair in a way that decreases your ingrowns. The best way to do that is laser hair removal. If you have no hair, you have no ingrown. Ingrown hairs are usually pretty thick and the laser hair removal damages the follicle, making the follicle and hair narrower before eventually making it completely go away.”

Seek Professional Help
If picking at your skin really is a problem, go talk to somebody. People are sometimes embarrassed and feel like they’re the only one doing it, but it’s very common. They are not going to be judged. Your doctor will have treatments and other things to do for it. If it’s preoccupying you during the day, or if you find yourself alone doing it everyday, and are having to wear more and more cover-up just to conceal the damage you’ve done, you should ask for help.”

Clearasil ad by Rolando Ancheyta.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Carly Jade

    This is one hundred percent me; I'm an OCD picker. I sit and stare at every opportunity I can and examine my skin all over my body. I know it's bad, and in my head I'll be saying "Just leave it..." but often, before I've even finished the sentence, my hands are up there scratching! I've been to my doctors, and am going again in three months to see how I'm improving... Fingers crossed!

    • Sabrina Stabbath

      I hear you. I'm a compulsive face and hand picker. I also chew on the inside of my mouth (dermatophagia) and have since childhood. I now have people slap my hands when I'm doing it. Looking like a weirdo isn't enough to deter me from doing in public unfortunately.

    • miranda

      . I feel the same way. I'm seventeen years old and it has completely destroyed my completion. I cannot go five minutes without picking at my skin. I have tried wearing gloves , putting band aids on area I feel like picking. but nothing has really worked. I have gotten alit of infections due to my obsessive picking. is there any other tips ?

  • Teresa

    It's like you KNEW I was picking at my chin just then.

  • Julia

    Bless the glossy gods that made Annie a part of this team.

    • Adrienne Angelos

      I knew it was her as soon as she name-dropped Whataburger. Bless the South.

  • Mady

    Advice from an actual expert! Yes!

  • Erica Rae Deutsch

    hahaha "3am loops through whataburger"..i'm not saying i have and i'm not saying i haven't

  • Becky

    i think it's important to add that, yes, saying "NO!" to yourself and trying to kill the habit/symptom, if you (like me) have used skin picking as a way of coping with anxiety for a long time, the anxiety needs to be addressed too. therapy has been a great help for me and I would sincerely recommend not seeing picking as a singular "problem" but as part of a bigger pattern.

  • Aly

    Thank you for this! Suffering from bouts of adult hormonal acne. As soon as I see a big meanie, I want to exterminate it. While skin-picking alone isn't necessarily an indication of OCD, I'm noticing that I might fall somewhere on the spectrum, or maybe it's just my heightened anxiety levels. Until recently I had been lucky to avoid any scarring, but during a very stressful time I created an actual open wound that took much longer to heal. It's a minor scar that I don't think will go away without a dermatologist's peel. I think about it each time I need to treat a breakout. I think it's good policy to bribe yourself. If I don't pick and let the pimple run its full course, I'll buy myself a new lippie...

    • M Meador

      Am trying this trick! Not that I need anymore makeup/ skin care products etc. but it SURE beats picking at my skin and making it scar.

  • Savannah Scorpion

    I have a bad habit of picking the skin around my thumbs, and I work in menswear, where bleeding over the merchandise is frowned upon. Before every shift, I put band-aids on my thumbs over the picked skin to keep me from picking at work.

  • Katie Sharry

    I have the double whammy skin-picking hair pulling compulsion...I was an ardent skin picker all through high school and college, and for a short time thought I had it "under control" until I realized that living alone in grad school allowed me to begin compulsively pulling out my (head) hair. Not so much that I get bald spots or anything, but I definitely transferred one compulsion to another! I had improved on that front as well for a few months, but I am under a lot of stress now and I basically put my hair up all the time to keep myself from touching it and exfoliate my face like crazy so there are no bumps/scabs to fuss over. I would say its been 55% successful...but its true, you have to be really firm with yourself! And is just. so. hard. to resist. Having a roommate would probably help.

  • Addison Cain

    I am the worst with spots on my forehead. If I get a clogged pore or a blackhead up there, I will pick at until I've accidentally scraped off skin or something. Gross.

  • Sarah

    So so true! I'm gunna put a post it note on my mirror now :)


  • Kat

    This is excellent, now please do one on not pulling out your eyebrows/eyelashes!

    • ann

      Haha I do that! all the time, there's even a name for it. Is like you pull gently and see if something comes out, people look at me horrorized when I do it.

  • lalala

    I am totally a picker, I've had a lot of good progress on not touching my face that much because I'm so sensitive about my face right now but I still have some little scars because I've picked a lot of blackheads in high school. But now, I'm always picking those ingrown hair I'm actually looking for them all over my body, if I have any bump on my legs whatsoever, I pick it. Even if I can't see what it looks like. It may be an allergic reaction to something, like a regular red bump, but I can't stop trying to pick it, thinking maybe something will come out from it. I have lots of scars in my legs, especially my thighs because of this. Now I'm really obsessed with back, I'm always itching my back to find a bump, again.

    And also it's not picking but I have this dandruff issue so a lot like picking my blackheads and ingrown hair, I'm always itching my hair and peel dandruffs out of the skin of my head. Those things get really worse like you said, when I'm stressed out. I don't think I will be seeing a doctor about it but I'm gonna try the other things that you said.

    I'm also thinking about laser hair removal but it's really expensive and I'm considered about the health risks, people says there isn't any but I'm still worried. Does anybody know about this?

    • pamb

      If you subscribe to Groupon or similar services, salons often run specials. I had laser done on my bikini and underarms at two different salons about 4 years ago. The bikini worked better than the underarm, but I'd still recommend it.

  • Spot

    THANK YOU for this one, Dr. Amy! On a bad day - to quell my compulsion to examine and pick, I turn my bathroom faucet on quickly and splash some water on my face to begin my usual skincare routine. It's enough to make me feel like I've made too much headway in the right direction to turn back and destroy. I go through with cleansing and finish with a clay mask, which hides my skin completely so that I look like a beeeeautiful statue. If I'm feeling very antsy, I dump out my anxieties with some vigorous leaping and jumping followed by a snuff of lavender. By the time I'm softening the dry mask with a warm wet towel, I feel GREAT (I did it!)! It's taken me a while to figure out how to take care but I've finally found some ways to deal.

    P.S. I am a long-time user of 'Duac topical gel' (perscription benzoyl peroxide / clindamycin antibiotic cream for acne), I really enjoy St. Ive's face washes, and I am totally devoted to Lancôme's 'Bienfait Multi-Vital SPF30' (day moisture / rich and protective) and 'Bienfait Aqua Vital' (night moisture / it's lovely and light).
    Don't loose heart! Keep trying, friends and pals! We can do it!

  • Genevieve

    Thanks, I really appreciated your addressing this. The specifics are helpful, as is the reminder that what might be needed is a professional, but what was most enlightening to me is the statement that this is a common habit. It's something I've always found really embarrassing so it's reassuring to hear that it's not just me.

  • Guest

    Here are some tools that have helped me:
    1) tell your boyfriend or roommate that you have a problem and you need their help. If I'm brushing my teeth in the bathroom, my boyfriend will walk by and turn off the lights. That way I won't be tempted to investigate every single pore on my face and be tempted to pick...
    2) Wear sunglasses in the bathroom. I hang my sunglasses on the outside of my bathroom door so I can put them on if I feel the urge to pick. If I'm having a particularly stressful day or week, I put them on before I even enter the bathroom because I know what might happen.
    3) Do something good for your skin every day- pore strips, masks, facials, whatever. I have lots of masks and I use one almost every day (sometimes I'll just put honey or yogurt on my face since I can't use a deep cleaning mask every day). It keeps my hands off my face (since it's covered) and it makes me feel like I'm taking care of my skin so I shouldn't be picking!
    4) If you live alone, have someone send you reminders not to pick. I never asked him to do this, but if I'm staying at my place, my boyfriend sometimes sends me texts right around the time I should be getting ready for bed saying "don't pick!" If I was picking, I know to shut off the lights or put on sunglasses, whatever it takes.
    5) do something else with your hands. Paint your nails, knit, do origami, write in a notebook.

  • Clever Girl Reviews

    I've actually naturally grown out of it. For me when there is little to pick at I don't feel the need. When my face looked like a pizza, I felt obligated to do so. I realize 90% of the time this makes it worse but I know that as an adult, not as a teen!

  • Le Living and co.

    It really is a compulsion to pick and it can be very embarrassing. I have the ingrown hair problem on my legs and I can totally relate. Great tips and thank you for sharing!

  • pamb

    I agree about the magnifying mirror! No one can look that close at your skin unless you are on HD TV. I do swear by looking at your skin critically in different forms of light; you never know what you'll see. For example, for some reason, the light in my parents' bathroom lets me see every stray hair, so I always touch up my eyebrows when I visit. Sometimes hotel bathrooms are good, too.

    I am an occasional picker, but I have to reform myself, as my daughter is a tween, and I don't want her picking (ha!) up any bad habits. No picking for her!

  • nico

    annie keep up with articles like this! obv i love reading about how amazonian models never really workout or how much they love la mer- but its so nice to be able to relate/get genuine advice from these articles and these past few months your pieces have been spot on! loving it

  • F

    The thing about "your skin never looks like what it looks like in a magnifying mirror. That’s not reality at all." made me so happy. I have far from perfect skin, I have been suffering from hormonal acne and I have a bunch of scars from when I used to pick. It's cleared up a lotnow thank god but it's still far from perfect, I onyl think it's "good" because I know how bad it used to be. But trust me you don't look the same in reality as you look in a magnifying mirror, and most places do not have bathroom lighting. And hey, people don't usually care about your skin. They usually look once and then forget about it. Others don't notice at all. Stay strong ladies <3

  • Megan❤Biles

    Also known as the main reason my nails are painted 24/7. They see the picking, not my face.

  • spectacularviews

    This is what I do. When I have the urge to pick I paint my nails so I physically can't touch my face without messing up my manicure.

  • fionnuala wilson

    This is totally me and I never relised that other people did this too until reading this, this post has been so useful.

  • wilsonq

    Thing with picking is that, you know most of the times u might end up making ur skin worse, but there were also that couple of times it actually HELPED make things better its that psychology that everytime u pick, ur gonna hope it would repeat that time when u had successfully done so....but then usually by the time it's too would be too late........also when you know u have a chance of making the bump flat so when u cover it with concealer, its not bumpy, u would then be motivated to try to squeeze everything out....without thinking ahead that, it could become layer skin coming off............the dilemma of picking

  • bruh

    Are there any treatments that help heal the many scars left behind on the face?

  • GG

    It's true that post-its, etc. won't fix everything, but a lot of these tips added together (throwing away tools, for example) can make a huge difference, even for a person on the OCD spectrum. I pick my skin compulsively (and have OCD), and these little tricks do help minimize some of the damage I would otherwise do to my skin. This article was great for reminding me of helpful things to do and of the fact that there are a lot of people out there with similar issues.

  • LA LA land

    Cutting my nails makes it much worse for me. Then I have to dig much harder/deeper to catch an edge. :-(

  • emmygirl

    I'm super obsessed with having perfect skin. I want to have it so bad. I'm 18 and do have OCD. I take medication but once I stopped doing "rituals" my anxiety has moved to picking my face and hands. I realize the damage and I see the scars. I need to stop

  • Bree Cantrell

    Wow! I didnt even know this was a common issue. Everytime i use the restroom, i spend at least 5 to 10 minutes picking at my face. Unfortunately ive even started picking at my face while im in a classroom setting. I didnt know it was linked to stress but i did ask my sister for advice. She just told me not to do it but old habits are hard to break.

  • sky

    I have the same problem. I'm 15 and my face looks like a tiny army takes shovels to it everday. I have ocd and anxiety and have picked since I was 9. I wish I had read this article 6 year's ago, maybe I would still look beautiful... oh well, I will be trying the nagging buddy and post its and really try to put a stop to this. hopefully that, the regular green tea consumption, and scar cream will help...

    • Anonymous

      I am so glad I am not the only person who destroys their skin! My face looks horrible from picking at it. I have tried everything from covering my mirror with paper to removing some of the lightbulbs from my bathroom, but whatever I do, I still find a way to destroy my face. My mom gets really mad at me for it and I get really mad at myself for it, too. I now have these dark marks all over my face and it looks like I have some kind of disease so I have to load foundation on my face everyday which just creates more pimples. Next week I am going to the dermatologist against without makeup on and it will be extremely embarrassing. I might scare the dermatologist away. I just wish I could stop and get fresh skin and look pretty again.

      • Anna Wickström

        Oh many gosh that's so me! I just want to turn back time and stay fresh and cute. Not having to worry about my face. School makes me really stressed out which makes it so much worse. I'm telling myself that if I can just stay away from it for one day, then I can stay away from it the next day and such. I hate the scars too, I'm worried about my future face Am I ever going to be able to stop and feel comfortable and nice without makeup?

      • Starrla Hogan

        Just saw your post. I've had this issue since 2008. I currently see a psychiatrist, a therapist, and a dermatologist, all for different reasons. When I try talking to them about my dermatillomania, they give me very generic answers and/or medication. Nothing works, probably because they don't have any knowledge or experience with it. Do you have any suggestions on how to find an experienced doctor? (They don't want to tell me until I go in for an office visit.) Also, if you have a good medication I could request from my dermatologist, that would be great.


    • Alie Moose

      If you are taking the time to be introspective and undoubtedly caring, then you are most definitely beautiful!! We are too hard on ourselves.. Often our worst critics. I'm 28.. I've been getting compliments on my looks for years; however, I've never believed what I heard. I've found great inner healing in my search to understand and identify the jagged root(s) that bloom into the negative thoughts, which end up manifesting physically for me.. There are many layers to this disease and if you give in- it is okay, keep trying your best! Scar creams definitely help!! My ex suggested setting out lots of skin pampering items in the room where I'm most tempted to pick.. It's actually helpful.. Sometimes, I pamper my skin with good smells, lotions & scar cream insead of mutilating it.. Sometime I don't though and it isn't the end of the world. People that don't have scars are simple.. We are deep, heavy thinkers and empathetic to others' pain.. Embrace it. You're a badass and you're beautiful. (Sorry for the novel.. Something you said really struck me I guess and I'm hoping my experience can be lent to anyone here for sure!!) Xx Cheers!!

    • Zara

      Hey, Zara here. I feel the same way, I have anxiety and depression and I can't stand not to pick at my face it drives me crazy and I want to stop too, I bet you're still beautiful now.(:

  • Lindsay

    I pick my skin very badly. (I'm 18). I have mild acne (just a few spots) but my face looks horrific and I give myself even more spots purely due to the fact that I pick. I used to have gorgeous what I'd call 'baby bum' skin, and I am so disgusted with myself that I have ruined it. But instead of dwelling on the past, I am trying to look ahead. I haven't yet found any tips that have stopped me picking completely, but I have found a few that stop me picking (on occasion) before I get the chance to start, because once I start it is almost impossible to drag myself away from the mirror!

    1. Close your eyes. As soon as you think about picking, immediately close your eyes, and don't open them until you have walked away from the mirror. It sounds simple but it's actually quite effective, but you MUST do it straight away.
    2. Clapping, tapping etc. Again, it sounds a bit silly, but as soon as you think of picking, start clapping your hands, clicking your fingers or tapping on objects around you. It's just something to distract your hands (and your mind) to prevent picking.
    3. Start singing. It really does help. Pick a song that you have to think a little to remember the words or the tune to, or one that you're gunna have a good boogie along with, maybe even start playing the song on your phone? anything to distract yourself. And music always puts me in a happy mood too :)
    4. Set a timer. You could do this all the time, or just before you go into the bathroom - set a timer to go off on your watch, phone, oven etc. for every minute, two minutes, thirty seconds, whatever it will take. I usually go into a bit of a trance when I am picking, and beeps or text tones usually pull me out of it. Or, if you pick at the same time each night, get someone to call or text you at that time. DISTRACTION!
    5. Behaviour 'aversion'/ replacement - this one really really worked for a while with me, but unfortunately I went back to my old habits - I am going to try it again though. If I felt the need to pick, I would take my thumbs and tap them on each of my finger tips and back again, then walk away from the mirror. Or even if I was in public and felt like 'scanning' my skin, I'd do this. That's the beauty of this technique - it isn't something like singing, or dancing, it's subtle and you can do it anywhere. Eventually the idea is that you replace picking with this behaviour. (you could choose an entirely different behaviour, but I found this one worked well for me.
    6. Put your hands in your pockets/behind your back. Again this is prevention from getting your hands on your skin in the first place. Simply hide your hands. Sit on them, put them in your pockets, put them behind your back, hold and object, get someone to hold your hands. Anything to get them away from your skin.
    7. Write a letter to yourself. I have never tried this one, I have only just thought of it actually, but I'm going to try it. Write a letter to yourself (to read when you feel like picking) reminding yourself (without beating yourself up) that you are not making the situation any better. Put pictures in, quotes, whatever you feel necessary. I think I will tell myself to think of the future, when I get married etc., remind myself I don't want all of those scars on my big day. Just write anything to comfort yourself and remind yourself not to pick. Then at the end of the letter give yourself lots of positive thoughts and a big 'pick-me-up.' NOW READ THIS LETTER EVERY TIME YOU FEEL LIKE PICKING!!
    8. Wash your hands/face. If you feel the need to pick, wash your hands (or face, or both). If nothing else, at least you have a clean face and hands, and the cleaner you are the nicer your skin will be and then you won't feel the need to pick! (Hopefully - I know as well as anyone that this is easier said than done!!)

    I really hope these tips help someone! Writing this has given me the incentive to try my absolute best to stop picking again. I'm going to use number 5, as this worked for me before, but by all means try all of them and see what works best for you. I started to feel SO much better (both mentally and physically) when I stopped picking, so just persevere and good luck! If any of you want to email to chat/compare etc. it's


    Lindsay x

  • Mary B

    The thing is, knowing I'm not the only one makes it worse because it makes me feel like this is normal behavior and I'm not doing something wrong. I have tried a multiple of solutions from taking the mirror down in my room, only turning on one light in my bathroom instead of two, wearing gloves, enlisting the help of my roommate, trying to keep myself busy, you name it. NOTHING WORKS. I know it's all in my head and that my constant picking can cause skin discoloration and scars but it's like I get too unstable if I know I have a zit or a scab that needs to be picked and hasn't. It the. takes over and it's all I can think about until I pick at it :(

  • Lexi Blue

    It's nice to know that others have the problem too, I will try the tips and tricks but mine has been going on for a long time, so hopefully it will work. I rink keeping a "Picking Diary" will help.

  • Bleh

    I am not a skin picker. I don't pick at my skin. I don't have scabs on my face. But my pubic region and legs are really messed up from me using a tweaser and nails to get rid of in grown hair. I'm saving money to get laser removal because it sucks not being able to wear anything that reveal my legs because of my scars

  • Jessica Freer

    I am more of a compulsive picker. When I was almost eight years old I used to pull the skin off of my lips until they bled. In middle school and high school I wore long sleeved turtleneck shirts just to hide my freshly picked spots. My face was the only telling place since I'd never learned to use makeup. Now as an adult it's embarrassing. I'm 24 and so embarrassed to let someone see the red splotches that clearly shows what I've been doing and yet I can't stop. I don't live with anyone or have a friend close enough to me to nag me about stopping. I've tried dermatologists but to no avail. What else can I try?

  • Stacy

    I have this problem too but i mainly pick my back at least 2 or 3 times a day.. Now my BACK looks horrible.. :(

  • Jay

    Everyone please I'm begging you read this post. I found the cure to skin picking. It's this product called deomedex. I know this sounds crazy but did you ever think about why we can't stop picking ? We can feel all of it under our skin. Like a tiny crawling sensation. So small we barley even notice it because it just come across as a compaulsive habit. We have these things called skin mites. They live inside the skin. There like these clear worm like things sometimes you can see them if they are really big and you pull out s hair somewhere and there is a white thing attached to the hair. They are what cause blackheads etc. not dirt and other environmental factors. I kno this sounds crazy but I'm begging you please get this cream it's an instant cure to clean clear pick free skin. I can't beg you enough to do some reading and get this stuff. It's only like $30 on Amazon and maybe you can find it cheaper somewhere else. Please please anyone who tries it spread the word. Spread it to everyone. I'm trying to find as many blog sites Etc I can to post this information on. My black heads were instantly gone. My skin was instantly smooth. It feels like a miricle. Your not crazy ! Its these damn mites.

  • taiah

    I'm definitely one of the ingrown hair pickers. I've started picking at the skin on my legs over the past month now and it's gotten out of control. And i know i should stop, but all my head tells me is "more, more, more."
    i have scabs and lesions all over my legs, and its august and i can't wear my skirts like i used to due to the damage. I've tried talking to my mom about it but all that happens is me getting screamed at.

  • Emma

    I've tried a lot. I tend to go through phases of bad habits. Pulled out eyelashes (I've stopped now. It's more recent and it was right before I moved to pimple picking on my arms) and biting my nails to the skin Hera my nails to the skin on my knuckles. The only one I have left is the pimple picking on my arms, and I am a thirteen year old girl who doesn't wanna wear anything above the elbow now because it looks horrible. And although I am very aware of all the things that are bad about doing it, I just do. I did it right before coming on the Internet and looking up MORE ways to stop. I wish there was something to help the scabs and redness so maybe I wouldn't notice it and it wouldn't bother me. I feel confident about who I am, but it's like I it like when I'm bored or tired or nervous or- you know?
    Anyone have anything to say?

  • Rylee Price

    It is very hard not to pick I pick and bite my nails all the time and can not stop.

  • Drew Washington

    My wife has this. She gets pissed at me if I tell her not to pick MY skin. And of course she picks her own ALOT. There is a spot on my face that I always thought was a mole. She demands that I let her try to pick it out! I now have a hole in my damn forehead where that spot is from YEARS of her picking at it. I feel really disrespected because of her compulsion to pick MY f***in skin!!!

  • Symph Avery

    I have this problem but I can stop it. My advice is don't get close to the mirror if you are a face picker. Getting all up on the mirror is almost dangerous, and I hate admitting that I could get scarring on my face. But bye bye OCD! You're not going to control my time, my skin, how I look or my confidence!

  • Inka

    I remember seeing an article kind of similar about a famous woman who loved to pop pimples. I was so glad to know I'm not alone.
    I realized for me it's an anxiety and stress issue. I retreat into the bathroom to avoid cleaning my room or doing school work, and I sit looking in the mirror for any sort of bump to squeeze. My face ends up red, blotchy, and tired-looking. I can be there for longer than an hour and the time flys.

    Something I noticed that had helped is when there is a big mirror that went directly to the counter. When I've moved out, my new homes were like this. At my parents on the otherhand, we have one of those half mirrors combined with a shelf and storage space. I sit on the sink counter and prop my arms on the shelf so I get really, really close. I want to get rid of the shelf now. I've loaded it with a random stuff so there's no room. Sometimes it helps, but sometimes I push it aside.

    I'm going to try the post-it again. I've tried it before and it had a consequence on it (5 push ups for each pick). Problem with that one is it added up and I didnt care enough to follow through.

    What I will do is ask my parents to help me. If they notice I'm in the bathroom for more than 5-10 minutes, they gotta tell me to get out of there. Honestly, I cried for some reason when I read that suggestion. I'm scared to ask for help, but I have to at this point. I think it's one of the best options. I will also bring it up with a counselor next time.

    Hmm..... maybe find a way to distract yourself by finding something different to obsess over. (coloring book in the bathroom maybe???)

    Good luck everyone.... I hope I may have helped in anyway. I'm 21 and I've been doing this since I was maybe 16.

    I believe in you.

  • Inka

    I've found drinking more water than regularly helps keep my skin clearer and fresher looking. Avoiding foods that cause pimples helps, too, such as sugar and dairy.

  • joanna Jackson

    I'm 33 and have done it from a young age from what I can remember. It usually starts from a small spot under my skin and then I dig and dig with my nails. But then I'll think that there is another one else where on my face and arms. It's got to the stage now that I'm covered in scabs on my face and arms and it's becoming depressing. I suffer with bipolar and anxiety and I find I pick more when I'm stressed with personal life. I'm suppose to be getting married next month and I don't feel that I can go through with it because of the state of my face and arms. I often sit looking at myself crying because of what I'm doing to myself but more than anything I don't stop doing it till its to painful to pick anymore. Iv seen doctors and psychotrists but it seems they don't care they just up my dosage for my mental health illness saying that it's contributing to my picking saying it is my ocd taking over also they are telling me it's my way of self having without realising. I feel like I can't take anymore and need to change cuz I'm even getting paranoid about my future husband wanting someone else because of how I look now. Please any advise for the help I can get. I was considering hypnotism to see weather that would help.